Black Joe Lewis is the most exciting young soul singer in the world right now. SXSW has only confirmed that to his hometown and now the rest of us are getting in on the rough and raw blues revolution. Joe Lewis and backing band The Honeybears have played four 'showcases' during SXSW music week, which were free of the dull hipster buzz and instead passion filled down 'n dirty parties. Black Joe Lewis – photo by BR, Glasswerk – has already bagged support slots with Okkervil River and will play another show with Austin's favorite band early April, and soon enough they won't need to be anyone's opener. We caught some time with Joe Lewis – by far the coolest and most laid back cat in the 90' heat – and guitarist Zach Ernst.
Glasswerk: The UK has already been led into the retro soul and blues revival by a group of young, strong voiced and talented female singers, who are now enjoying massive success in the US; where do you see yourself fitting in?
Black Joe Lewis: You know, soul music is definitely having a revival. Amy Winehouse is in charge of that!
Glasswerk: Well, she's not really in charge…
Black Joe Lewis: Ha, yer, she wouldn't know if she's in charge or not! I'm inspired by James Brown, Wilson Picket, Otis Redding. All those guys. We are a young band, young people singing soul and there's not many around.
Zach Ernst: Joe's a young cat. A talented cat. He's a sincere black man giving everything to sing soul music. He's a special guy and an artist the Honeybears really like.
Glasswerk: It seems like you'd be very successful in the UK, where real music fans are interested in bands who play interesting music, which shouldn't be left in the small specialized market.
Black Joe Lewis: Thanks man. We're a real crossover band. We have played shows with Jens Lekman, Spoon, Okkervil River and it seems to work good.
Despite the obvious influences and retro sound there's no doubt Joe Lewis is looking forward to create something unique. When I explained I had to miss the first show at Emo's Main Room opening up SXSW music to see Van Morrison and just what a bad decision that was, Joe can only agree that he has lost all touch on reality. “Van Morrison's just an old man!” These aren't the smooth, caramel coated soul ballads of a Van Morrison or Marvin Gaye and the music is even spiker than his idols. Black Joe Lewis spits the words with venom; blue language filling his heavy soul albums: 'Bitch I love you… coming home late at night, bitch you know it ain't right…i'm gona beat the hell out of you, i've got the right mind to beat the shit out of that motherfucker, use the back of my hand. BIIITCH I love you! Yer, yer, yer' Damn there's nothing wrong with these songs, they're just kickin' ass. The Honeybears add the sax, the sometime almost bluegrass guitars, deep bass and symbol lead drums. Joe Lewis is the wailer.
Glasswerk: Have you toured the UK before? Are you excited to go, when the time comes?
Black Joe Lewis: We haven't toured England yet, but we will. We wana play anywhere and everywhere. The UK is cool. Manchester is the biggest city right? Or is it London? You like soccer, sorry football? I like Aston Villa. Ashley Young is my favorite player. And I like Portsmouth. That's the pretty little seaside town right? And Chelsea, wow Drogba and Laaaammparrrd. Is that cat still there?
It's London, man. He is and it's Brighton not Portsmouth. We don't want Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears' first impression of the UK to be the sailors fight club. Now he knows a little better we can impress a little before he win's a whole new island of fans. Black Joe Lewis, Class Act.
To listen and learn go to the official Myspace: link